Who beats the door of good fame (by good deeds),— that one
Boasts of (does) service (to everyone) in this circle of the sky.

He (the good doer) cherishes his own name for goodness (by continually doing good deeds), in such a way,
That by it his own end (in the next world) may obtain good.

His body flies to the robe of the (holy) shaikhs,
For that is armour (hardly rent), not the shirt (easily rent).

O man, goodness-approving! if thou wish
To bring forth a name for lofty goodness,


Put on only one garment (steeped) in good fame;
Sell the other garments (of adornment) for goodness.

Seest thou not that, of the musky silk (enwrapping his musk),
No help is the musk-sellers?

Better than good fame (by the continual exercise of goodness) is no other fame;
Bad, that one whose end is not good.

The historian of this fancy (the history) of new order (strange),
Month and year (continually), used to express breath of (describe) those of good disposition.

Sikandar, who displayed that goodness (justice and liberality),
Made much profit (of religion and of the world) by that goodness.


Used to keep his glance wholly towards the good folk (whom he employed);
Would not permit the bad to (approach) himself:

Than (on) territory-conquerors and princes,
Would glance oftener upon the fallen (the abject).

Wherever he used to find a recluse in a state of retire­ment,
He quickly hastened to his place of retirement.


The second line may be:—

(Clothed) in goodness, sell the other garments (of adornment).


The clothes of the musk-seller become black with his black perfume.

They put musk in pieces of silk so that its perfume may remain. Then they continue using those particular pieces; for if they put the musk into fresh pieces of silk it would lose its strength of perfume.

Wherever he prepared an assembly (an army),
He used to ask aid of them (those of retirement) by blessing (prayer).

Verily, he was victorious in battle on that account,
That he separated (distinguished) the turquoise (the good man) from the stone (the bad man).


The army which came with him for battle,
Was distressed at this custom which he had.

They represented, saying:—“O ruler of Time!
“For thy instructor, fortune (is) thy teacher.

“Through the army, victory and conquest are thine;
“Thou cherishest the recluse; this is another affair (that is improper).

“With the sword, it is possible to subdue the world;
“From good men (holy men),—what profit callest thou to mind?

“Since as to superiority the (devotee's) blessing is the war-weapon,
“Order—that we may shatter whatever (war-weapons) we have.


“After this, when we strike at our opponents,
“We will beat the door of (seek for) the blessing of good men.”

For these hard words the world-possessor
Preserved an answer by fortune's power.

Inconsiderate (hasty) speech comes not good;
It is proper to reply in its own time.

When he urged the army towards the mountain Alburz,
He appointed a governor to every territory.


Custom. See couplets 11, 12, and 13.

To the mountain-pass of difficult thoroughfares,
He took his chattels like lions (forcibly and quickly) out of Shirván.


In that journeying of which he was desirous
His path was on the highway to Darband.

Near that decorated town,
Was a mountain-fortress; in it, much wealth.

A fortress it was, equal in battle (by reason of its loftiness) to the sky;
No man (of the ancient kings) had wandered about its skirt (with a view to its conquest).

In that fortress, the path (to Darband) held some persons
Who permitted no one to that path.

When they pitched the king's royal pavilion,
The guards of the fortress pitched the tent (of battle) above (on the fortress).


Closed the door of the fortress in the king's face;
Glanced not at his sword and army:

Hastened not to the king's court;
Turned their head from the service of the court.

If the ruler, Time-seizer, called them,
They became not agreeable to (his) going (to Darband):

And if he rolled up the book of (laid aside) sovereignty,
They gave him no path into that mountain and plain (of Darband).

Verily, that wise king saw the remedy,
By which he might uplift that obstruction (to his moving to Darband) from that place of obstruction.


Darband. See Canto xiii., couplets 25, 47, 49; xxxvi., 25.


A commentator states that—bálá zadan signifies—bar andákhtan va nașb kardan na dádan.


He said to the army—so that a hundred thousand
Should come about (encircle) this fortress:

Should with large rough stones and machine-hurled stones destroy it;
Should drown it in a blood-torrent.

Forty days the army raged;
They threw not down a clod from that fortress.

On account of its range (farness and loftiness), the arrow cast its wing (in helplessness);
Not a noose caused its leather strap to reach that place.

The workers of the stone-hurling machine, like demons of stubborn nature,
Ashamed at that fortress (adorned) like a bride.


Neither the small stone-hurler round about it, path-finder;
Nor of the revolution of the large stone-hurler,—fear.

When they wearied as to that assaulting,
And of that walnut-casting on the dome (the doing of fruitless work).

The king, work-knowing, established a new assembly;
Summoned the chiefs, and expanded his eye-brows (all frown gone, his face beaming with encouragement).

“What words say ye,” he said, “in respect to this mountain-fortress,
“Which through thought (as regards its conquest) has brought trouble upon us?”

Those country-conquerors, neck-exalting,
Sate, and offered prayer for the king,


“Khar” signifies—kalán, large.

Ghaab” signifies—in Arabic, a large stone; in Persian, manjaníḳ, falákhan, a catapult.


Saying:—“So long as we slaves have bound the loins (in thy service),
“We have not sate (in ease) a single day in this matter.

“Forty days it is that, foodless, sleepless,
“We have (vainly) striven with the cloud and sun.

“Against the head of the sun and cloud, thou knowest that
“It is impossible to strike the spear, or the arrow, or the sword.

“We devised like demons many a device;
“We accomplished not (the destruction) of this demon of the house (the fortress).

“Assuredly, best that we turn (back) from this difficult path;
“And travel the ascent and urge battle.”


When the monarch knew that those chiefs
Were dejected and despondent as to that (fortress):

—When the sun's eye plunged the needle (its rays) into the collyrium (night),
(And) the jewel (the sun) descended to the river of indigo (the darkness of night),

On the river-bank (in the darkness), with treasure and jewels,—the king
Drew up an assembly like the new spring.

When the assembly became a circle (gathered), he asked
Of those head-exalting, army-shattering,

Saying:—“In this retired spot, who of those retirement-practising (God-worshipping) is there
“Who wept in mourning for (the death of lustful) desires?”


Dev-i-khána. See Canto xxiv., couplet 2.


The assembly in couplet 41 was held in the day-time; this at night-time.


Darvísh, said to be derived from “dar,” a door=beggar from door to door


One spoke, saying:—“O king, knowledge-worshipper!
“In a certain cave is a God-worshipper.

“To none, shows he his face on any pretext;
“With a handful of grass he practises independence (of the world).”

The monarch immediately arose;
Became rein-turner from his companions;

Made some of his confidential ones his fellow-travellers;
Sought the trace, and came to the good man.

The road, on account of the night, was like the day of the (weak) enemy (dark through fear);—
An attendant and (with) a wax candle moving in front.


When from the far road he came near to the cave,—
Within the cave, the light from that candle fell.

When the worshipper beheld the ray of light,
He ran out of the darkness of the cave:

He beheld an angel-form, like the sun,
For approaching to welcome him, head brought forth from sleep.

The world-experienced one (the travelled recluse) hastened to the world-possessor;
Recognized him by the splendour of world-possessing (displayed in his visage):

Said to him:—“Thou art a person of excellent form;
“Mine, the idea such that thou art Sikandar!”


The king with kindness gave him his hand;
Went inside (the cave) and sate on his knees (with reverence) before him.


“Rá” after “iḳbál” is equivalent to—bará,e.

Inquired of him, saying:—“Who is thy acquaintance (helper)?
“Of the world, what apparel wearest thou, and what is thy food?

“O wise recluse! How knewest thou,
“(Living) in this narrow cave, that I was Sikandar?”

The recluse uttered benedictions, saying:—“Be heart-joyful!
“Be free from the fetter of (inclination to) tyranny!

“Risen be thy star in fortune!
“Adorned, thy fortune with victory!

“If I well recognized the king,—(it is well);
“Everyone at night recognizes the moon.

Not alone hast thou in the hand a mirror world-displaying;
“In my heart also, is a mirror of purity,

“Which for a hundred years (my) austerity has polished;
“At last it can display a form.

“Again, what the lord of sense inquires,
“Saying:—How is the devotee in this narrow place?

“By thy power I am joyful and body-sound;
“Stronger than what I was at first.


“Of the love or of the hate of any—no recollection is mine;
“Of slaves, none is free like me.

“As to the world, I beheld no fidelity;
“No one asks for aid from an unfaithful one.


See canto xxiii.

“When I estimated the limit of my own work (of life),
“I regarded this corner indeed fit for myself (as a place of safety).

“I cut the account with every acquaintance (of the world);
“My acquaintance is the Teacher (God) only.

“I have no desire for much eating,
“For repletion gives twisting (torment) to the bowels.


“Grass, I wear; and grass also is my food.
“By this alchemy, I make the (worthless) stone (of my existence) gold (pure).

“Years it is, since of singers
“Of those comers (potentates), I beheld none save thee.

“What is the cause that to-night, in this corner of the cave,
“The monarch with (notwithstanding) his happy starred-ness took the trouble to come?

“And then a person (of grandeur) like thyself;—in this my cave (a place of insecurity)!
“Yes; I perform the work of guarding for the guarding of the king.”

The world-possessor said:—“O old man, world-experi­enced!
“Of this coming, I had no help.

“God made iron (prayer and power) in two halves;
“Gave to us two (the king and the recluse) these two halves:


People of purity can turn stone into gold. Some grasses are elixirs.


The second line may be:—

The monarch, by reason of his happy starredness, took the trouble to come.

“Fashioned a key (of prayer) and a sword (of punishment) in this way;
“The key thine, He left the sword to me.

“By way of aid, at midnight (when prayer is answered)— do thou
“Move a key (of prayer) in this matter (of justice).

“Perhaps by thy key and by my sword,
“The work (of the travelling) of this multitude (of road-travellers) may be solved.

“On the shoulder of this mountain-top is a fortress,
“In it, are some bands of robbers.


“All day and night they attack káraváns;
“Attack lives through bad nature.

“In this search I am intent that I may subdue it (the fortress);
“May adorn it with justice and knowledge.

“If thou also by prayer render great aid,
“Fortune will in this way display great vigilance.

“Of the robber, the path may become void;
“The victuals of the moving (open) road, prepared.”

When the man, God-recognizing, became informed
That robbers were keeping guard in that fortress,


He let go a stone-hurling engine formed of the breath (of prayer),
Which opened the door of (reached) the fortress of the sky. (Why then speak of the fortress of the earth?)

On that (fortress), the stone lump (of calamity) of the engine (of prayer) struck in such a way,
That the mountain (the fortress) became drowned in the water of the river.


The first line may be:—

(a) On that (fortress) he struck the stone-lump (of calamity) of the engine (of prayer) in such a way.

(b) On that great mountain fortress he struck the engine of prayer.

For koha signifies—a mountain-fortress.

To the king, he said:—“Arise, go to thy place;
“For that mountain has come from its base.”

When the monarch came towards his own assembly,
The members of the assembly ran to him (in the ceremonial of welcome).

They again arranged the assembly;
Sate with music, and asked for wine.


One came, saying:—“The fortress-keeper of this fortress
“Is standing at the door in the hope of admittance.”

The king ordered that they should bring him quickly;
He came to the king and made obeisance.

When beyond limit he had uttered benedictions on the king,
He cast down before him the key of the gate of the fortress:

Declared saying:—“To-night, by the king's power,
“Ruin came to this fortress.

“Two strong bastions of this stone-built fortress
“Brake quickly in pieces, by the constellation of the sky.


“Through God's anger a hurling engine arrived;
“The fortress suddenly fell, and it (the engine) rent (men) asunder.

“If thy stone-hurler had destroyed it,—(’tis impossible);
“How would the sun (the fortress) have been rent by an atom (the weak engine)?

“Its destruction I know is not through this army;
“For this engine of destruction is from another fortress (—from God).


“Koh-páya” signifies—koh-sar; koh, a fortress of mountain strength.


The second line may be:—

Time, (by aid) from the constellation of the sky, shattered.

“When the command of the celestial fortress is thine,
“Thou knowest,—other sovereignty is thine.”

The king glanced at the army leaders,
Saying:—“What mark of prayer is better than this?


“Forty days it is, that men of action
“Strove with the sword against this fortress,—

“With so many sword-points, diamond-like,
“(And) pierced not a single stone of this hard stone.

“With a single sigh, which a foodless one heaved,
“An angle (a salient of a bastion) poured down from its face.

“In respect to this, what appears to you?”
—Let not the land be without good men!—

The chiefs of the army, with apology
For such disputing, became penitent.


At the king's assembly they gave the ground-kiss,
Saying:—“Let not the throne and crown be void of thee!

“May thy arm be powerful in the country!
“May the silver of the balance be lasting!

“Such means thou knowest how to understand;
“For for thee God made His own shadow.

“Since we also became acquainted with this screen (the (effect of prayer),
“We have come to the road (of prayer) though (before this) we went from the road.”

The king sent so that they hastened to the fortress;
And emptied the fort of those robbers.


The next day, when the king took that fortress,
To the fortress they opened the path to the monarch.

All the people of that fortress became subject,
Though before this they were enemies.

Gold, and jewels, and other rarities,
They supported on the head in service for the king.

When the king became disengaged from their business,
The king rewarded all his own army:

Gave them (the robbers) lands on feudal tenure instead of the fortress;
Sent them towards the land given by himself:


In that stone-built fortress, sky-scraping,
Established many buildings and many places (ramparts):

Made its ruined state altogether prosperous;
Made the fortress of injustice the house of justice.

Those dwelling in the vicinity of that mountainous country (fortress)
Made an accusation of tyranny at the time of the king's court,

Saying:—“From fear of Khifchák, of savage nature,
“We cannot sow a seed-grain in this land.

“For from this direction (of Khifchák) they ever attack,
“(And) bring ruin on this field and water (cultivation).


“In this way losses reach us;
“Such a loss that calamity (of starvation) reaches souls.

“If the king exercise a little compassion,
“He may cause ease to reach that land.

“In this guard-place (the path of approach of the men of Khifchák) where are breaches (mountain-passes),
“Buildings, he may establish, so that it may become stone-built.


See canto lvi.

“Perhaps from the calamity of those desert ones,
“The work of the people of Khazrán may reach ease.”

The king ordered that—the mountain-passes,
The people of Khazrán should altogether close.


With steel and tin, and with hard stone,—
Should throw up a barrier in that narrow path.

Of hard stone-fashioners—their occupation fortifying,
Who knew how to establish a fortress on the mountain,

He sent a multitude in a mass,
For closing the pass of that mountain (from the men of Khifchák).

When he finished rendering sound the breaches (the mountain-passes),
He raised the standard with the intention of moving.

From the beating of the small drum and of the great drum, —became
(Black) ebony, the (white) poplar within those forests (of Alburz).


The king led the steed towards the desert;
Gave the rein to the road and pursued his stage (in haste):

Urged his steed like the planet (the moon, the quick mover) of the sphere;
Caused happiness to reach every castle to which he came.

When the (black) ringlet (darkness) of night from the perfumed curl
Shed the lily of the valley (the stars) on the arch of the water-lily (the sky),


“Ihkám” signifies—muhkam sákhtan.


See canto lvi.



(White) poplar (yellow with fear), the (black) ebony within those forests.


Women during the day put a lily in the ringlet above the ear; at night-time they take it out and put it on a shelf.

The king and the army from the labour of road-rubbing
Reached ease for awhile.

Some of the guards (guides) of the road (of Alburz),
The king appointed for the sake of relating night-tales.


From them, news of that mountain (Alburz) and plain,
He asked, and became acquainted with past events.

After that time, of every depth and height (mountain and plain)
They unfolded the secret into the king's ear:

Declared, saying:—“Here (on Alburz) is a beauteous fortress,
“From which the fierce south wind is far.

“One stone of enamel (all of one kind) of Paradise nature,
“With decoration and happiness, Paradise-like.

“Its name is Sarír-i-Sar-afráz (the throne, head-exalting);
“In it, the throne of (Kay) Khusrau and his cup.


“When the Kay Khusrau (Cyrus) disengaged the chattels (of his body) from the world,—
“In that place, he put the cup and the throne.

“Chose, verily, the tomb house (formed) of a cave,
“Into which cave, one cannot crawl on account of the fire.

“In that ante-chamber (of the fortress) also, of his seed
“Is one king-born, king over all.


Road-rubbing may mean:—

(a) That they travelled the road and were wearied.

(b) That they rendered the road good and smooth, and were wearied.


The south wind is the plague-bearer.


“Mína” signifies—glass, or its transparency (shifáfí).

“He performs the service of the place of that king (Kay Khusrau);
“Guards that cup and that throne.”

The lord of the world, the king, world-travelling,
Kindled (with joy) when he heard this tale.


Wherever he used to take a fortress of happy order,
Whether from a powerful one, or from a helpless one— what matter?

If it had been open, if hidden,—
The crown-possessor of the world would have gone to that fortress:

Would have alighted for looking within that fortress;
Blessing would have come from him to that fortress-holder.

For seeing the unseen, he was desirous;
Wherever he went he was ardent and active.

That night, when Sikandar heard the description of that fortress,
Desire of seeing the fortress appeared.


Perhaps from the ancient cup of Kay Khusrau,
He might give freshness to the assembly of the kingdom.

All night, in this thought and reflection, he was
Saying:—“How can one open the gate of this fortress?”

Come, cup-bearer! make my heart fresh with the wine (of senselessness);
In this respect, exercise patience (carelessness) within limit (only to a small degree).

(Because) my heart has found the lamp oil-less (dark from carelessness);
Give splendour to my lamp (the heart) with wine.